Saturday, March 07, 2015

The boundary bat

I once had a friend who was severely abused during her childhood. As she worked through the wounds, she became incredibly empowered and incredibly angry at anything less than loving treatment. Those closest cheered for her because we knew that she was learning to take care of herself and set healthy boundaries for the first time, and we knew the anger would pass, as it always does when she got comfortable with her new boundaries.

At first she felt terribly guilty feeling this way. She had learned, as a coping skill, to be "nice" all the time even when things or people weren't "nice." Wanting to support her we played a little joke and got her a big green plastic baseball bat. We labeled it "the boundary bat" and encouraged her to take an imaginary swing at whatever wasn't right in her life. We laughed ourselves silly and she burnt off some steam.

Those of us who want to be loving often do feel terribly uncomfortable when we have to set a healthy boundary, release someone from our lives, or say "no" when someone else really wants you to say "yes." And yet, to do anything less is inauthentic, dishonest, and actually not so loving after all. So often, I see this in others, and have seen it in my past, anger and upset do come up when we find ourselves uncomfortable in such situations. As we become more comfortable saying no, setting healthy boundaries, and walking away from darkness, things feel better.

For example, say you've listened politely to a friend complaining for months. Suddenly you grow and realize that these complaints aren't serving either one of you. You now have new choices to make if you are to be in integrity with yourself... speak up kindly, spend less time with the friend, or figure out another way to handle the situation in a different way. If you are not comfortable with these, chances are you'll get angry with the friend. And while all feelings are valid, the angels implore us to look at them before we take them out on another and see what they are trying to tell us. Are we really angry with the friend, or are we just frustrated because we don't know how to handle the situation in a loving way? If we're honest, it is likely the second. We all want to be more loving, and it is frustrating when we don't know how. That's when we pray "God show me the way to honor myself, and the light in the other?" Notice I am not saying honor the "other's ego!" When we choose to honor the light in another, sometimes we turn away and do not dignify the darkness.

So this week, take an honest look at your life and see if there's anything upsetting you. Do you need to set a boundary, turn away from something, or maybe just change an attitude? Pray over it and the answer will be revealed...guiding you back to grace and peace.

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